Lillian and I had to explain to the kids that their grandmother passed away. Lillian waited for me to return home from work to break the bad news.
When I got home, my daughter greeted me with, “Mom said you have bad news. Did Oma die?” I answered with, “Where’s your brother?”
When we got the kids together, I told Maddie that she was right, Oma died. The kids said things like, “Did her heart just get tired” and “I want to see her big stone thing at the cemetary.”
I explained that Oma’s not going to get a headstone. She wanted to be cremated. Of course, I knew it was coming: Now I’d have to explain what cremation is. They asked, and I just dove into it. “They’re going to burn Oma’s body, and we’ll be left with her ashes.” I watched the faces of the kids and of Lillian to see how this explanation was registering.
They processed it for a bit, and then asked, “You mean like Obi-Wan?”
Lillian lit up at the comparison too. Obi-Wan was a great Jedi, after all. That would be a fitting comparison, right? I had to explain, “No. Not like Obi-Wan. His body just disappeared when Darth Vader struck at him with a light saber.” I went on, “Cremation is more like what they did with Darth Vader.”
I got slightly confused and horrified looks for a second. But then as everybody remembered that third original Star Wars movie, they all nodded sagely.
Mom, I love you, and I’ll always remember you.